Under gloomy skies and spitting rain, Rangers A kicked off on Saturday afternoon against Marrickville knowing a win and three more valuable points would be enough to claim fourth spot.
From the beginning the early signs were positive with the Rangers boys first to the ball, dominating possession and using the wings effectively. The hard surface of the pitch meant playing the ball on the ground was easier to control and some excellent early passing created a good chance for Nick Nuerlan who narrowly shot his effort wide.
The Marrickville attackers showed the danger they posed and should have scored the first goal of the match if not for an excellent finger tip save from goalkeeper Ben Bagshaw. At the other end, Rangers had two one-on-one chances with Riki Inamura clean through on goal and then Timmy Teerarujinon shooting just over from a good central position. Despite these misses starting to add up, Rangers refused to panic and maintained the pressure to end the half the stronger and more confident of the two sides.
The boys were encouraged to keep playing their “on the floor” brand of football and patiently wait for opportunities to present themselves as the 11-man Marrickville team would surely tire as the game wore on.
Typical to form, which has seen Rangers labeled “the second half kings”, the boys picked up where they left off and played most of the half in the opposition territory. For 25 minutes the Marrickville defence held firm but with the game becoming a little too predictable, Rangers pushed a midfielder up front to play a more attacking 4-3-3 formation. The move seemed to work instant magic and within minutes a scrambling shot from Nick Nuerlan resulted in the ball popping up for Paul Flynn to smash it home. Within minutes Timmy Teerarujinon had made it two when he noticed the Marrickville keeper off his line and he sent a precise lofted shot 30 metres and into the back of the net.
Now in complete control, Rangers sealed an impressive victory with another well crafted team goal by Pierre Khouzame, who’s cleanly struck finish was always headed for the back of the net. This victory saw the man of the match award go to Hiroshi Tsuchiya for his excellent cover defence and movement off the ball.
“This is our fifth win in eight undefeated matches, impressive form for any team heading towards finals footy,” coach Joseph Roppolo said.
“We have the momentum and confidence going into our most important weekend of the season when we take on competition leaders Strathfield B and then on the Sunday we play fellow finals hopefuls Strathfield A.
“Today’s victory has secured fourth spot on goal difference, the first time we have been in the top four since Round 3. We have everything to play for and our season is now firmly in our own hands.”
Rangers A’s next game is against Strathfield B at 1.15pm on Saturday, July 18 at Callan Park #1 (Wharf Road, Rozelle).
Rangers A play Strathfield A at 2.45pm on Sunday, July 29 at Strathfield Park #3 (Chalmers Road, Strathfield).
If anyone is interested in playing for Sydney Rangers, contact Gavin Mears via firstname.lastname@example.org